|GREAT MINOR LEAGUE HOME RUN RACE
Today’s roundup includes a new position for a Yankees prospect knocking on the door in the Bronx (there’s only one door in the Bronx), some prospect-on-prospect violence in the Eastern League, Matt Olson getting his Adam Dunn on, sneaky good seasons from Brewers and Angels farmhands, and an excellent month from a Phillies behemoth.
International League • AAA
Rob Refsnyder, 2b/rf, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): No, his day wasn’t particularly noteworthy, but it was interesting. Refsnyder, an outfielder in college who played nothing but second base for the past two years in the minors, got the start in right field in the RailRiders’ double-dip with Charlotte. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said earlier this week that if Refsnyder gets called up this year, it will be for right field, not for second base. With that in mind, beginning to get some reps again in the outfield seems like a pretty good signal he’ll get the call at some point this season.
Pacific Coast League • AAA
Tim Cooney, lhp, Springfield (Cardinals): Cooney entered the year with a rep as one of the best strike-throwers in the organization. This year, however, he’s gotten a little more wild than usual. His walk rate (3.2 per nine innings) is more than double his career average. On Wednesday, however, he was back as vintage Cooney. Against Nashville he lasted eight innings, surrendered one run on three hits and no walks and struck out eight. He sports a four-pitch mix with an above-average changeup, but needs to refine his control to crack the Cardinals.
Eastern League • AA
Dalton Pompey, cf, New Hampshire (Blue Jays): After ranking No. 17 in this year’s Prospect Handbook, Pompey has turned his barrels of tools into skills and has enjoyed a breakout season. Facing the Twins’ Jose Berrios in his Double-A debut on Wednesday, Pompey had a tall order. He delivered. He went 2-for-4 with his first Double-A homer, three RBIs and threw out a runner at third base. He’s scuffled a little in Double-A so far, but that’s to be expect of a 21-year-old getting his first taste of the upper levels.
Texas League • AA
Hunter Renfroe, rf, San Antonio (Padres): He didn’t enter until the sixth inning, but he made a big impact in his few innings. A prototype right fielder with big power and arm strength, Renfroe walked in his first plate appearance, homered in his next and hosed Midland’s Jefry Marte at third base later in the game. The longball was his second in Double-A and 18th of the season. He hasn’t kept up the same pace he was on at high Class A Lake Elsinore, but very few players excel immediately in Double-A.
Southern League • AA
California League • HiA
Matt Olson, 1b, Stockton (Athletics): The dark-horse participant in the Great Minor League Home Run Race, Olson edged closer to the top Wednesday night with his 25th longball of the year. He also swatted a double, his 17th of the season, as part of a 2-for-4 evening with four RBIs. His numbers this year reveal a classic three-true-outcomes player in the mold of Adam Dunn. He’s slashing .243/.394/.526 with 77 walks and 85 strikeouts to go with the 17 doubles and 25 homers.
Jose Rondon, ss, Inland Empire (Angels): The best offensive day in the minors belonged to Rondon, a 20-year-old shortstop who skipped the Midwest League and headed to high Class A instead. On Wednesday he continued a very strong season with a 4-for-5 effort with two triples, a run, two RBIs and a stolen base. He hasn’t walked as much as his on-base percentage would suggest, but he’s still slashing .327/.363/.421 with 16 doubles and five triples.
Carolina League • HiA
Nick Williams, lf, Myrtle Beach (Rangers): With another strong evening, Williams occupies this space on consecutive days. After homering twice on Tuesday, Williams followed up on Wednesday with a 4-for-5 effort with two doubles, a triple, two runs and an RBI as part of Myrtle Beach’s 20-hit onslaught against Winston-Salem. He’s a dangerous hitter with quick hands, pop and the ability to spray line drives all over the field. After feasting on the Dash for two days, he’s probably got Aug. 26-29 circled on his calendar. That’s when Winston-Salem visits TicketReturn.com field next.
Florida State League • HiA
Tyler Wagner, rhp, Brevard County (Brewers): Very quietly, Wagner has had a fine season after an excellent year at low Class A Wisconsin in 2013. He’s a little older at 23, but he’s permitted just 78 hits in 98 innings with high Class A and on Wednesday stymied Lakeland for 8 1/3 frames. He surrendered a run on five hits and a walk and struck out nine, tying a season high set June 20. He’s fanned 25 against six walks over his last three starts. Wagner, a Utah alum, is armed with a low-90s fastball with sink, an above-average slider and a developing changeup.
Midwest League • LoA
Alfonso Alcantara, rhp, Burlington (Angels): Alcantara’s performance this season has earned him a spot in this weekend’s Futures Game. (Like Jose Rondon, he’s had a sneaky-good season in the Angels system.) With a slider grip finally settled upon, he’s found a pitch worthy of coupling with his upper-90s fastball. Alcantara allowed two runs on six hits and two walks over five innings on Wednesday with five strikeouts. He’s still got plenty of refinement to go as far as mechanics and control go, but he’s got plenty of promise going forth.
South Atlantic League • LoA
Zach Green, 3b/1b, Lakewood (Phillies): After an extended absence that ended with a prescription of an orthotic insert, Green has looked like a new man. Since his return, the massive masher has slashed .337/.414/.537 with eight doubles, four homers and 16 homers. That’s great news, especially if Green must play first base, where he’ll have to crush to keep his prospect stock afloat. He went 3-for-5 on Wednesday with a pair of doubles against Hagerstown, another good day in an excellent 24-game stretch.